Monday, January 27, 2014

Finger Food

And our fingers WERE the food at times! Another beautiful day to take advantage of and we headed to Fowl Cay Preserve to snorkel and feed the fish. They have become so tame that as soon as we hooked up to the mooring ball they were at the side of the boat begging. We had brought bread crusts with us and it was perfect to just reach over and feed them by hand. Sometimes they mistook our fingers for the bread though. When we entered the very chilly water and started snorkeling the perimeter of the reef, we happened to look back and realized we were being followed by the whole school of bermuda chubs and yellowtail snappers. At one point I decided to head back to the boat while Dave continued on for awhile and we wondered who the gang would follow. Not to worry, we both had a group. Dave got the snappers and I had the chubs.

It's hard to top this experience, but tomorrow's another day and we'll give it a try.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day Trip South

We are finally experiencing several days of calm weather. In fact, the Sunfish and dinghy races scheduled for today had to be cancelled due to lack of wind. That certainly doesn't happen often in the middle of winter! Instead it was a perfect day to load up the kayaks and snorkel gear and head south to Little Harbour.

Once we anchored, we kayaked all around the harbor and into the protected inner harbor.

This makes a great hurricane hole for boats.

Heading back out into the main anchorage.

The famous Pete's Pub and Gallery gets bigger every time we visit.

These are the caves that the Johnston family lived in when they first came to Little Harbour. Click HERE to learn more about this artistic family and their foundry.

Strange rock formations are near the caves. I can't believe I was actually floating in this little water depth.

 We headed out towards the ocean and found even more caves and blow holes. There is a constant surge causing water to spray through the holes and crevices, even today in these benign conditions.

Little Harbour is at the southern point of the Sea of Abaco, so after returning to the skiff we headed back north through the Bight of Old Robinson (Don't you love the name?), a huge crescent shaped bay that actually has several blue holes in the backwaters. Some of the water is so shallow, that we barely made it though. A few minutes later we came across about a dozen sea turtles scooting under the water in every direction.

We couldn't resist stopping at one of the small beaches on the Sea of Abaco side of Lynyard Cay to clean the marine growth off the bottom of the skiff and a bit more kayaking. Last stop was made at the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park to hook up to one of the mooring balls to feed the fish. 
 Dave also went snorkeling, but even though the water isn't too cold, the air still has a bit of briskness to it, so I opted out and watched from above. Dave was very encouraged that he is getting stronger and he could actually swim with his fins against the incoming tidal current and dive down about 15 ft. to the bottom. 

We're hoping that the weather prediction is accurate and we can get out and about for more adventures in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Harbor Sunset

 (Thanks Catherine!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Race Ready

Thanks to volunteers who helped repair and paint the Abaco Rage, it is now floating and sitting pretty on its mooring. It is quite a time consuming team effort just to launch and rig this famous work boat. Once the boat is back in the water, the lines and rigging have to be sorted out.

Then the mast gets lifted and installed with the forklift and manpower.

More rigging had to be that's not Dave up the mast!

Instead, Dave had to go diving for the shirts that were used to protect the fresh paint from the straps used to launch it. 
He's much more comfortable in the water than up high now.

Later in the day, two boats assisted the Rage through the harbor and back to the mooring. Commodore-at-Large Rich Cook towed backwards while Jim Ryan was at the Rage's helm helping to steer and Will Heyer and Dave acted as a guide and tug at the stern.

Now it's time to put on those huge sails and let the racing begin!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Wing and a Prayer

We woke yesterday to a Haitian motor-freight boat aground near the freight dock here in Hope Town. This one is different than the one that we have seen in the harbor before.
It still amazes me that it can make it all the way to Haiti, but these heavily used boats must be solidly built and are constructed on the beaches of Haiti. This boat didn't even have a name anywhere on it. They billow smoke like crazy, but that is because they burn a combination of diesel fuel, used motor oil, and recycled cooking oil!  I do like the lines of the boat, especially the long sheer of the pointed bow. Dave thinks that it only is able to go forward and doesn't have reverse. We saw all sorts of lines and straps hanging off the sides of it, making us wonder if a small boat pulled it off the shoal and turned it around to point it out the harbor.

As Dave was motoring by in the skiff, the captain came out and motioned to his hat, indicating that he really liked it. Dave remembered that he left his old safari hat back on New Horizon, so he grabbed it and gave to the captain. You can imagine the smile he wore along with this hat...

After supplies that local Haitians have accumulated in the area are wrapped in plastic to protect them from the seas of what must be a rough passage, they are loaded on board. We saw mattresses, chairs, pails, bicycles, and wheelbarrows, among many other items needed.

Tonight at high tide the ship will motor out of the harbor and head south. I wish them calm seas and lots of luck!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lighthouse Work Party

We had no idea that today was going to be such an exciting day at the lighthouse when Dave first organized a work party. Cold front conditions were perfect for digging in and getting some major projects done. It was also perfect timing because Annie Potts, director of the Bahamas Lighthouse Preservation Society and Michael Pateman from the Nassau Antiquities Department were on site. I think that Mr. Pateman (in red shirt) was amazed at what we were all doing and gave us his approval, taking several photos to show his department staff back in Nassau. As an added bonus, Mr. Forbes, the father of one of the lighthouse keepers (in grey shirt), was visiting his son and he is the retired lighthouse keeper who started back in 1968! What a wealth of knowledge and history this man has. It was wonderful listening to his interesting stories.

We had two major projects that were accomplished with our volunteers. One was to finish rebuilding the dock that Dave and friends partially rebuilt last season. Originally the pier was made out of concrete, but it has a few spots where it has caved in. Used wood decking that was donated from Lighthouse Marina made a solid dock cover for it.

Even Lucy the talking dog, wanted to be part of the action.

The second project was to clean out the small pump house, vacuum it and distribute the contents to appropriate areas. The place was filled with all sorts of items and old boat parts. This building formerly pumped the kerosene from the barges up to the lighthouse. Now the kerosene comes in jerry jugs (the light uses 2 1/2 gallons per night).

Finally more garbage was picked up around the property, the storage building (that is now a workshop) was cleaned up and reorganized, and all the famous Christmas lights were checked. Any strands that didn't work were disposed of.

Mr. Pateman also thought it was fine that the Hope Town Harbour Rats (spearheaded by HTSC Race Committee Chairman Heinz) have been working on restoring Abaco Dinghies on site, since they also have historical significance.

 What a great feeling to know we have made a difference in keeping so much of the history alive!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another Milestone

Today was the first Sunfish race of the season. Doesn't it figure that just before we all headed out of the harbor that a cold front arrived? Winds were 15-20 mph but the three race series was still held. I was on the race committee boat while Dave actually survived sailing in the blustery conditions for the whole regatta (of course now he can barely move).

 He was just so ecstatic that he could hang on to the tiller and mainsheet, and stay seated....well, at least until the end when he was heading back in the harbor and flipped over. It took pure determination to right the boat and get himself back to the beach. No wonder he is so tired and sore!

He may have only gotten 7th place out of 12 boats (which is actually quite good with the competition today), but just sailing is a milestone in his recovery. And he'll be right back at it for the next race in two weeks.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rat Rod Return

Rat Rods were so numerous at the Daytona Turkey Run that I needed to make a separate post for their photos. Their popularity has become viral. Anything goes and the owners' imaginations have run wild. Below are just a few of the many eclectic, eccentric, and extreme vehicles that we saw. Look close for all the amazing details. No captioning necessary....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Turkey Run Return

We are having some really stormy and windy weather, so it is a perfect time to relive the Daytona Turkey Run Car Show we went to back in November, just before we left for the Bahamas. There was a record amount of about 6000 cars there and we certainly couldn't see them all. Here are some of the highlights and unusual sightings...some were really extreme! This is where new trends in customizing are conceived.

Entering the Daytona Speedway tunnel to the infield:

Immediately we came upon more than just cars, but all sorts of tractors and wheeled creations too. 
This 'Hardly Ableson' trike was powered with a Maytag washing machine engine.

Here is an Infield Doodle Bug powered by a flathead four cylinder of unknown origin.

This Ford garden tractor has a 60 h.p. flathead V-8 in it. What a great sound!

Dave's Cyclops is not alone with competition from Buford's Contraption.

A Make 'n Break powered garden tractor/trailer combo. It would look good at one of our rallies!

Then it was on to the show cars. Some were hard to determine their lineage.

Long winters and imaginations run wild!

This was our queen of the Turkey Run. Imagine what you could make with this 1950 moving van (Chuck?!!!). We've never seen anything like it.

VW Bug with everything but the kitchen sink...on second thought it was probably hidden in there too.

A super chop job on this 1950's Chevy pick up truck.

Airbrushed details galore on this late model Corvette, even under the hood.

The Panama Jack Plymouth Prowler.

A 1970 Hemi Barracuda Convertible worth more than the average house.

1937 Plymouth P4 sheriff's car.

"Got Blower?" Dave calls these things condo Hemis when they are above the roof line.

1950 Chevy COE cab over engine transporter with all modern running gear.

Skeleton and crew looking for a new home.

The Monkees concept Pontiac GTO from 1967.

Beautiful pre-war coupe with period louvers. Look at the stance and front bumper.

Mixing classic  amusement rides with hot rods. I wonder what vehicle these will show up on next year.

An old-school sedan delivery.

An extreme 1961 Ford Galaxy.

"How low can you go?" Baggers were everywhere.

Pink Ladies Rule, even at the car show.

Extreme coming and going!

Intimidation at the stop light!

Your 'run of the mill' jet engine monster truck!

Street legal blown Hemi funny car.

Very tasteful period sled with lake pipes.

Even mini bikes were not immune to the customizer's touch.

Doc Hudson's nemesis.

We barely scratched the surface with all the hundreds of vendors. Dave was in 7th heaven with all this neon.

 Lots of strange items for sale too.

This looks like our collection with a chrome dome gas pump, outboard motors, and even a bicycle all like Dave's.


We may not have made it to Hope Town in time for Dave to enter in the Box cart Derby, but this event went beyond making up for it....but wait, I'm not done yet. More extreme vehicles to come soon!